Targeting baby boomers and seniors to drive restaurant traffic

Targeting baby boomers and seniors to drive restaurant traffic

Older Canadians have been gaining share of restaurant visits and are predicted to continue this trend.

Take a moment to reflect on some recent restaurant advertisements and the types of actors cast in them. Very likely you’re imagining teenagers, working adults, and families with children. Younger consumers are the heaviest restaurant users and are at life stages where they are forming their brand loyalties, motivating restaurants to focus their marketing dollars on them. However, the aging population has been attracting more attention from the foodservice industry and rightly so. While they are a smaller target market, boomers and seniors have been and will continue to be a strategic source of growth.

For the past six years, boomers and seniors have been slowly but surely gaining share of restaurant traffic, and The NPD Group forecasts ages 55 and up to continue to gain over the next three years. This growth is driven both by older boomers (aged 55-64) and seniors (aged 65 and up) eating out more often, and by younger boomers (aged 45-54) bringing their more frequent use of foodservice with them as they age. While boomers are the largest generational group driving this trend, seniors are making the most notable share gains and should not be over looked. Together, boomers and seniors make up 38 per cent of restaurant visits.

Boomers’ and seniors’ restaurant habits are more similar to the average customer than they are different; however, there are some key differences that can give your business an edge with this growing target market.

Customers over the age of 45 are more likely to choose their restaurant based on habit and brand loyalty. Strong brand loyalty makes attracting their business from competitors more difficult, but keeping it more lucrative in terms of their repeat business. When choosing their restaurant destination, these customers skew towards smaller, independent operators and enjoy full-service, on-premise visits more often. As such, it is important to get personal with boomers and seniors and make them feel welcome as they sit down at a familiar table.

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